Fall CSA: 3rd Pick Up

root crops to root cellar.JPG
Potatoes and Onions on their way to the root cellar.

We still have a lot of vegetables! Our 10×10 cooler is almost full of carrots (mostly carrots), beets, radish, kohlrabi, turnips, rutabaga, celeriac and cabbage. Our greenhouse has several tons of butternut squash and sweet potatoes, plus a few other varieties, and is growing lettuce and spinach.  The field still has more than an acre of crop to harvest, including lettuce, arugula, cilantro, kale, swiss chard, spinach, dill, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower (fingers crossed) and more carrots.

We borrow root cellar space from a friend (really fancy, built last year, “state of the art”) in Dover and we are allowed 2 pallets stacked 7 black crates high.  Last week we brought onions and potatoes, which stored really well there last year, 70 crates, roughly 3,300 pounds.  I picked up almost every crate twice in that process and had a lot of help from Erin and Kevin and our friends who lend us the space.  Yikes.  Plus we had to drive the produce to Dover, and now we’ll have to go back and forth to get them for the winter shares (yes, all of those potatoes and onions are just for the winter share).

Not having secure land tenure is the reasons for this great vegetable shuffle.  It is incredibly inefficient and my back won’t tolerate it much longer.  If we owned land, or at least had a long-term lease, we would build the storage infrastructure we need (and make sure we could put down entire pallet of produce with a tractor, or at least use a pallet-jack). I’d love a concrete floor.  Except I just saw this reminder on BBC News yesterday about how our culture’s desire for concrete is one of the many ways we are rapidly destroying our planet.  Luckily a quick google search shows I can source recycled concrete when the time comes.

All this is a lead up, to let you know that we are going to be giving you large quantities of sweet potatoes, onions and regular potatoes this week.  We had great yields on these crop this year and just do not have the make-shift storage needed to keep them all.  We will provide paper bags for the sweet potatoes and potatoes.  I wouldn’t wash them right away when you get home, they are better kept with soil on them until you are ready to use them.  But you can and if you use them all by the end of the Fall share (mid-December) they should be fine.  Keep the potatoes in the dark though, sunlight causes them to turn green. Onions are fine on the counter or in a cabinet, and we’ve got some nice variety so they will look pretty.

You’ll be picking up:

8 lbs of sweet potatoes (store in paper bag in cabinet)
8 lbs of potatoes (store in paper bag in cabinet, or basement, a cool place that doesn’t freeze)
5 lbs of onions (store on counter, or in bag near potatoes)
Plus the rest of the share.

This is your allotment of these items for the rest of the fall share.  For those of you worried about having space for these, know that they are pretty dense and don’t take up that much space.  Plus, you can feel really good about utilizing the temperature controlled space of your home to reduce your carbon footprint!!  Plus, you have more control over when and how you use these items.

This means your last two fall shares might feel a little smaller (about 7 lbs smaller each), but its because you’ll have already picked up of some of the vegetables this week.

We’ll have some cool varieties to choose from if you want to pack you own bag, and we will be pre-packing bags for those of you who want to grab and go.  Our sweet potatoes are all the same this year (the white and Japanese varieties are cool, but the yields are so low by comparison that we just couldn’t justify growing them again this year).

We’ll mark the varieties on the onions and potatoes so you know what you are picking from.  There is a variety of potato called pinto gold which we strongly recommend. And a flat white onion called cippolini which is definitely worth a try.

What’s in the rest of the share

Brussels Sprouts
Maybe Broccoli/Cauliflower choice
Carrots, 2lbs
Mix and Match Choice 2lbs: Rutabaga, kohlrabi, purple top turnip, beets, watermelon radish
Lots of lettuce, small heads and lettuce mix
Choice, 2 items: Kale, chard, spinach, escarole, frisee, cilantro, maybe a few other items
Winter Squash (5-6lbs): Butternut, pie pumpkin, carnival
Sweet potatoes

Recipe Ideas

Brussels Sprouts.  The sprouts are small and tight this year.  I prefer the larger, looser sprouts, personally, but these poor plants suffered through what we all thought was the July/August Brussels Sprouts Apocalypse.  No rain for about 3 weeks after planting and the WORST flea beetle pressure I have ever witnessed.  Somehow they pulled through, a couple varieties better than others, and we’ve had a few good frosts, so we are pretty excited about this first harvest.  We give them to you on the stalk.  It’s very easy to break them off with your fingers, which is what we recommend, or you can use a knife.  We’ll have a station a the farm so you can break them off there and leave the stalk for us to compost (we really want the stalks to be composted so if you don’t have a home compost, please consider leaving the stalks). This is a fun activity for your kids.

Storage Radish. We grow larger radishes that keep well in a cooler for winter use.  They are sweeter than their summer cousins and great shredded on salads or even cut up on a veggie plate.  Plus they are beautiful!

Rutabaga.  We didn’t actually manage to get any of these out for you guys last time, but there are lots now!  These are one of my favorite fall crops.  I love to roast them cut into small cubes with oil, maybe add a little thyme and salt.  They are great mixed with other veggies for roasted roots.

Chocolate Beet Cake. For those of you who have been with me for a while, you know I love chocolate beet cake but I haven’t made it in a while.  But after Harvey asked for red cake the other day, I realized I had the answer (the batter looks more red than the result, which looks like chocolate cake).  I had some leftover small beets that I had boiled and then forgotten about in the fridge.  I just cut the top and roots but left the skins and put them in the blender.  It looked like it would be about what the recipe called for so I didn’t measure.  I make the whole recipe in the blender so I don’t have to wash a third bowl and it works out well.

Purple Top Turnips. Harvey ate a whole one of these raw on Saturday.  He asked for it.  I’m serious.  We gave a friend some vegetables and Harvey saw us giving him the turnip (I think it was the first one he has seen) and really wanted to keep it for himself.  Luckily I had another in the fridge so we didn’t have to do a deep dive into a sharing and generosity struggle.  He carried his around with him for a little while, then handed it to me and said, “Mama, peel it.  Cut it.  Big pieces.” The boy knows what he wants. So I did and he ate almost all of it. I don’t usually eat them raw, but check out these 20 recipes that can give you some inspiring ideas for what to do with these super healthy roots.

Butternut Squash. These have had plenty of time to cure and sweeten (it takes about a month after harvest for butternut to realize the true potential of their flavor).  I’m sure most of you are familiar with this yummy winter treat provided by the cucurbit family (yep, this is cucumber and zucchini’s cousin). Here are 26 ideas of what you might do with your butternut squash (besides just roasting and eating, or soup, which are both amazing choices).







Fall CSA: 2nd Pick Up

You know you’ve had enough rain when you pull a carrot and the hole left behind immediately fills with water. . . so we are going to talk about eating food, rather than growing food today. (Although we did have fun preparing and planting our last transplants in the big greenhouse last week!)

Despite the weather we still have some really great crops.  We are especially excited about the variety for this week’s pick up.  Here is some of the food we have been eating (most of the recipes are approximations I found online, we don’t typically cook with recipes – although using them as guides is definitely useful if I’m trying something totally new).

Simple vegetable soup (you can add chicken, white beans, lentils, barley, pasta, rice . . . ) We used onion, shallot, celery, carrots, fennel, potatoes, garlic and lots of thyme and oregano.  Some canned tomatoes would have been nice too.

Fish Tacos with Napa/Cilantro Slaw! These were really good.  I don’t like the looks of a lot of the recipes online, so I’ll try to write what I did – the slaw would be good on it’s own, no tacos needed:

Napa Slaw
1 head napa (very finely chopped)
1/2 bunch cilantro (very finely chopped)
1 small red onion (very finely chopped)
1 large carrot (grated)
(mix vegetables with a fork until evenly distributed)

Make dressing in a bowl:
1/4 cup mayo or mayo substitute (we use Veganaise – we like the flavor better than mayo)
2 crushed garlic cloves
2 TBSP olive oil
1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 TBSP lime juice
1 tsp salt (you can add more to taste after mixing)
Whisk ingredients together until well blended.  If you don’t like tang use less vinegar, or you can add sugar, but I try really hard not to use sugar because its not supposed to be good for me or something (says the lady who ate Oreo’s last night).
Taste the dressing BEFORE you put it on – if you don’t like it, doctor it first!
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour over the shredded vegetables and allow to mellow at least 1 hour.  I usually leave it on the counter, but if I need to leave it for longer than that I will put it in the fridge.

The Fish Part – we baked Haddok in tin foil at 375 in the oven until cooked through.

The Tortilla Part – we used soft, flour tortillas and warm them on the pan before eating.

The rest – we also had arugula, black beans sauteed with roasted sweet potatoes and garlic, shredded cheddar cheese . . . .

Simple Alfredo Sauce on Rigatoni with Sauteed Onion, Peppers and Kale and Roasted Eggplant

Harvey loves Rigatoni – the large, tube pasta.  He can look through them, put them on his fingers and I assume they also taste great . . . . he also like Parmesan cheese.  Like, he would chew on the block if I let him – which I did once by accident. So we make my version of an alfredo sauce and pasta once every week or two.

Simple Alfredo Sauce –  The way I make it is pretty similar to this, but I basically halve the recipe for 1 pound of pasta.  I find that a good coating is plenty, I don’t need the sauce dripping off the pasta. I also always add at least a tsp of oregano and thyme.  Probably not traditional, but so yummy.

*I also cut up a carrot into Harvey sized cubes and put them in the boiling pasta water.  He likes carrot and its a great way to get his veggies cooked at the same time. He’s not a big fan of the other veggies in this.

Roasted Eggplant – This is actually simple.  Don’t be afraid of eggplant.  Seriously.  This article also debunks the myth that eggplant needs to be salted.  It doesn’t.  I never do anymore.  This week is your last chance for Upswing Eggplant until next July.

Sauteed Onions, Peppers and Kale – I think you’ve got this.  Sometime I will add a dash of sherry or white wine after I have sauteed the onions and peppers, right when I add the kale and then cover for a minute or two . . .

Shishito Peppers – none of ours are hot.  They are mild, with subtle pepper flavor.  This is your last chance to try  them this year.  We suggest tossing them in oilve oil and baking at 400+ until they are blistered and cracked.  Then just sprinkle with salt and eat as soon as they are no longer too hot to eat.  Its a great pre-dinner snack, something to put in the oven while you are also roasting sweet potatoes.

Harvey ate his first sweet potato of this year, finally, last night.  He has ignored them, refused to try them, thrown them on the floor.  But last night, our computer, which is next to our kitchen table, was on slide show mode during dinner, and a picture of me from about 4 years ago came up.  In the picture I’m holding a big beautiful sweet potato up to the sky (its a great shot, definitely in my top ten favs).

When he saw it he said, “Mama. Sweet Potato! Eat It!” I began to explain to him that when you harvest a sweet potato you first have to cure it, then wash it and cook it before you can eat it.  As I was talking he turned to me with a big grin, fork held high above his head, then wham, down it came, skewering a roasted sweet potato cube which went immediate into his mouth!  Hazzah!!

We don’t typically worry when he does or doesn’t eat something, but I was like, come on, sweet potatoes?  They are the best.  We are into savory sweets over the sweet recipes, like with marshmallows, or maple syrup, but we do like to indulge on Thanksgiving!

Did you know sweet potatoes is one of the only plant food with enough nutrition for a human to survive on solely for an extended period of time? Here is a silly, but interesting Popular Science article about it. The take away: eat a wide variety of foods!

Butter Roasted Sweet Potatoes
This is a fancy version of what we do multiple times a week.  Many times we don’t even bother to peel our sweet potatoes.  You can cut them thinner than in this video and they will cook faster.  We usually just use olive oil.

Dad Dinner.  We call it Dad Dinner because Kevin usually makes dinner about once/week, maybe twice (because I love to cook and I find it therapeutic, not because we are gender normative and think women should do all the cooking, in fact, he made two fabulous dinners the last two nights).

Dad dinner is really good and healthy too: Sushi Rice with Pan Fried Tofu and stir-fried vegetables (whatever is in the fridge – napa, bok choy, kale . . . all would be good). Use the links for tips, but we feel like keeping tofu on the menu once/week is important, since for some reason it is one of Harvey’s favorite foods – and we really like it too.

Sauteed Escarole with Garlic and Parmesan – For those of you in the summer share, you will remember my blog diatribe about bitter greens.  Fall escarole is one of my favorite foods.  I can slurp down a whole head by myself when sauteed with oil, salt and garlic.  Yum.

Arugula salad with olive oil and salt. Wash it, drizzle a little oil, sprinkle a little salt, enjoy!

Roasted Root Vegetables
We especially like carrot, beet and rutabaga together right now!!

Pumpkin Soup

A lot of roasting, stir frying and fresh salads at our house.  We hope you are enjoying your fall share.   I can’t get this song out of my head.  It’s silly, but I think Weird Al said is best, to the tune of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”: Just Eat It!

What in the Share
We are attempting a lot of choice in this next CSA pick up – we will see how it goes.

Choose 7 items:

lettuce mix
arugula bagged
head lettuce
Shishito peppers
bok choy
swiss chard
napa cabbage
mustard greens

Choose 10 Pounds:

Sweet Potatoes
Acorn Squash  (these will be limited to one/share because they are the last of them!)
Carnival Squash (These are amazing!  Don’t be afraid – they are really simple to just cut up and roast, or you can try stuffing them)
Rutabaga (they are small this year!  not more 7 pound rutabaga!)
Red and Yellow Onions
Green Peppers (some) – last chance, the plants are going to die Wednesday night!
Eggplant (some) – last chance, the plants are going to die Wednesday night!
(don’t worry Thursday members, we will pick yours before they get frosted)

Broccoli/Ripe Peppers Mix 1-1.5 lbs (actual weight will be based on yield)

A Pie Pumpkin!

Just a note: from the top list, all loose, leafy vegetables want to be eaten first, while things like bok choy, napa, celery and radish will last until next week) So if you pick, for example: lettuce, arugula, kale, radish, shishito peppers, celery and napa, I would make sure to eat the lettuce, arugula and kale by next Tuesday/Thursday depending on your pick up day.  So plan your menu accordingly.